7 reasons why businesses should hire IT consultants

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The IT department plays a pivotal role in the success of a company. It might not increase the bottom line, but it surely helps actively in streamlining the business and improving productivity and efficiency.

Sadly though, with most of the attention paid to ways for increasing profits, the significance of the presence of the IT department takes the backseat. However, it’s extremely important to remember that a business devoid of strong systems will be in chaos; and chaos hampers growth.

One statistic indicates that a small business may spend an average of nearly 7% of its revenue on IT. That means for every 100 dollars earned, 7 dollars are being allocated to IT. This can add up to thousands of dollars spent per employee for infrastructure, hardware, software and repair. Though this may seem a bit too much, strategic investment in IT can help foster growth.

Your company may be new or it may be an established business that is stuck in a plateau. Hiring an IT consultant would help place proven processes and systems that could scale up your business to the next level of growth.

An IT consultant would over haul your entire business from infrastructure to process perspective and provide you with systems that would be tailored to your needs. After all, the purpose of technology is to not just run your business, it also greatly helps to grow your business.

Mentioned ahead are a few pointers to help you understand the importance of a fully functional IT department and why hiring trained IT personnel is an important decision for your business:

  • Delegate

As much as you would like, you need to understand that you cannot do everything on your own. To be efficient, you have to realize that your responsibility lies in growing your business and refining customer experience.

You are an expert in your field and have hired people who are very effective at their jobs. You need to call in an expert to take care of the IT side of the business too, to ensure that you have the right processes in place that will help you grow.

In just about every industry, technology is becoming increasingly important. It is expected of your business to be accessible through cell phones, email and the internet. Having websites where customers can post testimonials and read reviews have become a norm for almost every industry.

Though you can address any queries that you might have about your product or bill, you need reliable technology to be accessible to them and partner with them collaboratively and this where the role of IT comes in. An IT consultant can facilitate smooth communication and bring your skill set to the forefront.

  • Budget

A small business, or a business that is just starting off, needs to cut expenses to the bone to keep its head above the water. This means that the budget is tight and adding a full time employee can come at a prohibitively high expense. For example, in the USA, a typical in-house IT manager commands a salary of $127,000.

You might compromise and consider hiring someone who has just graduated, or perhaps, your business is in an area that has a low cost of living allowing you to hire someone at a smaller salary. Despite these factors, it will still cost you about $78,000 to have an in-house IT person.

For most small businesses, this is too expensive. However, by using an IT consultant you can implement new software, get assistance on projects that are tech-intensive or manage servers on a short-term basis.

This way you can save money by hiring an experienced consultant, in the short-term, rather than paying a staff member for his full-time services. Depending on the nature of your business and the amount of work generated for the IT department, this could be the most cost-effective option.

If you are hesitant about employing the right one, you can always read reviews about the different experience employers have had with IT consultants.

You have to understand that hiring an IT consultant is about saving money, not about spending more. An independent IT consultant can cut out management ineffectiveness that you may not have realized was an issue.

It can also remove inadequate governance. The best example of this was the tactic employed by the New South Wales government. It used independent IT consultant to reduce their $573 million expense for their software project for public schools and Technical and Further Education (TAFE).

  • Expertise

According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), “Consultants can bring expertise and experience that your business does not have otherwise. They can help manage long-term strategies, complete a project that requires highly specialized skills or help you get work done efficiently.”

For small business owners, it may make sense to use amateurs or unprofessional IT individuals, to fix their day-to-day data or server issues. However, this may lead to their technical systems collapsing because only the experts in the field can ensure smooth server performance and data security by implementing robust technical solutions.

Hence, to save time and employ cost effective IT solutions, it is best to hire experienced IT consultants because they can provide reviews of your existing technology and how to use it optimally.

  • Experience

Experience and expertise are not one and the same. Expertise implies that you know how to attempt a task in the best manner possible, whereas, experience tells a person whether the task should be attempted in the first place or not.

Consultants bring specialized and valuable knowledge and can ease your company’s challenges because they have the experience of working in diverse environments. The reviews they provide can enable you to reconsider existing options and think about new ones.

IT consultants come across all types of problems and have the experience of implementing different solutions of all sizes, across various industries. This allows them to know what works and what does not in different scenarios. Thus, you need IT consultants that have relevant real world experience and are befitting for your company and its needs.

  • Lack of in-house resources

This is a no-brainer. If you do not have dedicated in-house resources, for IT purposes, then it’s mandatory to hire an IT consultant. Most small companies make do with their admin person. In fact, they may actually hire a person for administration, who happens to know a little about computers. This person then becomes the go-to person when there is a glitch in the system. But there are severe limitations to this method.

We live an exceedingly IT-centric world and, eventually, the business technology knowledge required will out-pace the general know-how your admin person has. This will not only frustrate you, the admin person and the employees involved, but it will also affect your customers.

Using an admin person as your IT resource may do more harm than good, even if you save a few bucks in the beginning. An inexperienced person trying to solve complex IT problems can irreparably damage your IT systems, infrastructure and network.

Furthermore, you don’t actually know whether you are saving money or not. Without an IT expert, you cannot accurately measure the cost of outsourcing as compared to the cost of having your admin guy look at the problem.

You might even be required to pay extra bucks for fixing possible mistakes made by someone as inexperienced as the admin person. You need to understand that an average admin person just does not have enough knowledge and know-how to provide reviews on current technology nor on the practicality of upgrading your existing resources.

  • Fresh perspective

Everyone working in an organization may be looking at the problem with the same lens. Hiring an IT consultant brings a fresh perspective to the table; an unbiased opinion that is unaffected by office politics or whatever typical corporate baggage the company may be carrying. An outside opinion may identify overlooked issues and challenges and give you an objective viewpoint that you may be missing out on.

A fresh perspective can also challenge the status quo. A company’s employees may be accustomed to doing things in a certain way that may not be optimally efficient. An IT consultant may look at existing processes and use technology to improve them and make them more productive. Their expertise can provide unbiased reviews on current options available and encourage you to invest in technology that could save time and money and, hence, increase your bottom line.

  • Time

You know how it’s said time is money? Thus, you do not want to waste precious time when your network is bogged down, due to technology issues, making your employees unproductive and idle. Not to mention, more time is wasted as you attempt to remediate the issue or use lengthy workarounds as you wait for the issue to be resolved.

Not only can IT consultants get your technology issues resolved fast, saving valuable staff time, they can also provide strategic and tactical solutions that will help prevent similar outbreaks and further issues in the future.

Your IT services requirements may vary due to the inherent unpredictability that exists in all businesses. When facing an urgent challenge, you need services of an IT consultant but you probably don’t have the time or money to spend on the expense of training existing staff on new technologies or bringing in a full-time employee.

Since IT consultants are often billed only for the hours of actual service they have provided, or their deliverables, they are cost and time effective. Furthermore, they could provide reviews on technologies that you may be unaware of, which could allow your employees to better manage their time.

Outsourcing your IT needs is not for small businesses only. Some of the biggest and best known companies, including telecom operators, media outlets and advertisers among others, turn to IT consultants to solve their challenging concerns, such as monetization and distribution problems.

Whether you are launching a new IT project, upgrading existing security features or implementing new ones, restructuring existing network systems or installing new ones, hiring an IT consultant will definitely do wonders to your business. Doing so will increase your productivity, efficiency, boost growth and, hence, positively influence your bottom line.

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